Copyright 2011 Susan Stamper Brown
Some of my fondest childhood memories include times when my father and I served meals to those in need at our town’s local Rescue Mission. Coming from humble beginnings as the daughter of a hard-working blue-collar worker, helping the homeless, sick, hungry, abused, and addicted taught me there would always be someone a little less fortunate than I out there who was in need of a helping hand. I came to understand was it not for my father’s self-determination and sense of personal responsibility, given his personal circumstances, Dad could have been on the other end of that kitchen counter, and I’d probably be a registered Democrat today.
These lessons are the reason why I have knee-jerk reactions when I hear statements suggesting that government should do for us what we should be doing for ourselves. Progressive Democrats’ sacrosanct belief that the government was created to control how wealth is spread around is nothing more than a modern-day attempt to re-invent Robin Hood, only without all the chivalry and green tights.
Those supporting the president’s new plan to “ask” (Progressive-speak for mandate) the wealthiest Americans to “pay their fair share” romantically embrace the concept of social justice – the idea that progressive taxation and wealth redistribution will result in some sort of economic egalitarianism – and to get there, we must take from some and pass it on to those whom “should have had it in the first place.”
Offering a helping hand to the needy is right, but the ends must always justify the means.
Democrats do not own the market on charity. I know many charitable Conservatives who combine their compassion with common sense. They bring food in one hand and a fishing pole in the other. How true the saying, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
In contrast, preaching the gospel of wealth redistribution, Progressives bring food in one hand and a voter’s registration card in the other. Seizing the opportunity to convert victims into non-thinking entitlement aficionados, Progressives will stop at nothing to lead their followers to some mystical Shangri-La, where rich people roam the earth laden with bags full of loose cash, desperately looking for a place to unload it.
Warren Buffett, as the left’s favorite compassionate rich guy, is like Robin Hood in reverse, in that he cannot seem to give his money away fast enough – with the exception of a little back-tax squabble they say he has going on with the IRS – to the tune of an estimated $1 billion. Of course, all rich guys are wicked, unless they agree, as an act of obedience to the government, to help bankroll the administration’s spending addiction by signing onto the proposed “Buffett Tax.”
I know, the devil is always in the details, but I’ll go ahead and say it anyways. Buffett’s billions are his. Not the government’s. Not mine. Not yours. The money is his. Those inclined to contribute their resources to help the poor, should. It’s called charity. People are generally more inclined to be charitable when they do it on their own.
The truth is, when the government takes money from the rich, it simultaneously hurts the poor when charitable organizations, like rescue missions, dependent upon gifts from society’s successful find themselves with fewer resources to share with those in need. There is a cascading series of events, which leads to more poverty and less prosperity. Likewise, high taxes choke the life out of creativity, undermine manufacturing, and weaken the middle class. In contrast, lower taxes enable business owners to increase job creation, salaries, and benefits.
Forced “charity,” only creates animosity between the less fortunate and those being charged with their fortune, under penalty of prosecution. There is a power in authentic generosity that no amount of government social-engineering will ever match.